Commissioners vote 5-2 for 2022-2023 budget
Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022
The Board of Beaufort County Commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of the 2022-2023 county budget at Monday night’s regular meeting. Commissioners Randy Walker, Ed Booth, Jerry Langley, Frankie Water and John Rebholz voted in favor, but Commissioners Hood Richardson and Stan Deatherage were opposed, video of the meeting shows.
The budget for 2022-2023 is $68,936,979, according to a budget ordinance provided by Beaufort County Government. The ordinance shows a levied tax rate of $0.625 per $100 of assessed valuation. It is expected to produce $38.9 million in property tax revenue. This year’s budget, according to documents from the county government, is 6.8% larger than last year’s.
The three largest portions of the budget are; education ($20,063,591), human services ($18,754,354) and public safety ($15,207,227).
Part of the budget includes allocating $1 million to Beaufort County Community College to sustain the Beaufort Promise Program. The program helps cover the cost of tuition for students at the college. The Beaufort Promise Program was created with funds from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Because ARP funding will cease next year, the college looked for an alternative that would continue the program. That meant asking county commissioners to consider and vote in favor of funding the program. The county would pay $1 million over the next four years. Money from the General Fund balance would pay for the Beaufort Promise Program. Guidelines and criteria for the now county supported program have yet to be written, per an earlier report from the Washington Daily News.
A five percent salary increase for county employees was added to the budget to keep current employees, Chairman of the County Commissioners Frankie Waters explained. The overall cost of raising salaries amounts to $746,000. The salary increase reflects a cost of living adjustment.
Waters said the 2022-2023 does one thing differently than other budgets that have passed while he’s been a commissioner. This budget uses money to pay for non-recurring items such as Beaufort Promise Program and the salary increase for county employees.